About Us

BiotA Lab is an innovative design research platform that merges architecture, biology and engineering. It is based at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London, one of the world’s leading research universities. The lab explores new modes of simulation and production in architecture, as well as advances biological and material sciences, and how these subjects are leading towards an ever-increasing multidisciplinary approach to environmental design. The result is a new sense of materiality, new hybrid technologies and unprecedented living forms that are redefining not only building design, but our whole built environment.




BiotA Lab was founded by Marcos Cruz (Professor of Innovative Environments and Progamme Director MArch/MSc Bio-ID) and Richard Beckett (Lecturer in Architecture and PhD candidate Bartlett/Material Engineering), integrating a broad and interdisciplinary group of researchers and teachers. Members include Dr Brenda Parker (Lecturer in Biochemical Engineer and Co-Programme Director MSc Bio-ID), Javier Ruiz (Teaching Fellow and computational expert); Bill Watts (Visiting Professor in Environmental Design, Senior Director of Max Fordham LLC); Dr Carolina Ramirez Figueroa (PostDoc AHRC project); Shneel Malik (Teaching Fellow and PhD candidate Bartlett/Biochemical Engineering); Nina Jotanovic (PhD candidate Bartlett/Chemical Engineering); Malica Schmidt (PhD candidate Chemical Engineering/Bartlett).

Other associated members include Dr Paolo Bombelli (Ecologist, PostDoc Biochemistry, Cambridge University); Oliver Wilton (Lecturer in Environmental Design Bartlett); Dr Martyn Dade-Robertson (Reader Newcastle University, regular critic and external scrutineer); Dr Sandra Manso (Biologist, PostDoc UPC Barcelona); Sofoklis Giannakopoulos (Robotic expert, Astrolab and Tropos Design Lab Athens); Chang Liu (PhD candidate in Architectural Conservation Edinburgh University); Taehyun Lee (Architect, The A Lab South Korea); Prof Jamie Davies (Professor of Experimental Anatomy, University of Edinburgh – external scrutineer); Paul Bavister (Teaching Fellow of Acoustics and Thesis tutor)

BiotA Lab also integrates students of rC7 in the MArch Architectural Design programme, as well as PhD-by-Design students who form part of an international network of experts in environmentally led design and novel applications in architecture. Academic collaborations of the lab also involve C-Biom.A at the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia / IaaC Spain; Arch-ID Lab at the University of Newcastle UK; REX Lab at the University of Innsbruck Austria; and Grymsdyke Farm.




BiotA Lab work is produced between the design studio, workshop and laboratory where innovative building systems are developed with the help of advanced computation. Modelling and simulation tools are implemented in parallel to material testing and organic growth, providing feedback and data for the fabrication of construction components and prototypes.

Students and researchers design, grow and build bio-digital prototypes that explore new models for architecture, responding to specific climates based upon the relationship between environmental conditions and the interfacial properties of materials with micro-organisms. In opposition to the traditional complexities and highly costly ‘green architecture’, BiotA Lab explores an alternative symbiosis between buildings and nature that is more computationally sophisticated, and far less costly for buildings in high-dense cities.




Members of the BiotA Lab develop unique skills that bridge innovative computational design, materials, fabrication and laboratory protocols. This makes students and researchers highly desirable in a wide range of architectural practices and laboratories with a particular focus on digital, ecological and bio-integrated design. The cross-collaborative nature of the work allows BiotA Lab students to work individually as designers and as part of greater teams that are exploring new ways to respond to the increasing environmental challenges in our cities.